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INSPECTOR MORIMOTO and the DIAMOND PENDANTS:
A Detective Story Set in Japan


By Timothy Hemion

iUniverse, 2004 ($13.95)
ISBN: 0-595-31986-6

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Some might liken Inspector Morimoto and his assistant, Officer Suzuki to those two famous British sleuths, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Both duos use deductive reasoning to unravel convoluted crimes. With over twenty-five years experience, Inspector Morimoto has worked to solve many crimes. He clearly understands the structure he is forced to work within but to his credit, he never lets outside pressures keep him from doing his job to the best of his ability, despite how impatient his boss or others involved in the case may become.

Morimoto's boss, the Chief of Police is always concerned about the reputation of the Police Department. Sometimes it seems he is more worried about that reputation than he is about actually having a particular case solved. However, Morimoto and Suzuki methodically set about to gather clues, develop theories -- no matter how fantastical they seem -- and with time running out, they manage to sort out the criminals and the crime.

As this case begins, Inspector Morimoto is called to Okayama Central Hospital to take charge of a diamond pendant that was found in a critically wounded patient's briefcase. Upon sorting that out, he and Officer Suzuki are called upon to interview a homeowner, in nearby Niwase, who reports a diamond pendant has been stolen from his wall safe. These two incidents turn what has been a long stint of routine and boring police work (since they solved the case of the two umbrellas earlier in the summer) into a new challenge worthy of their deductive talents.

It is a pleasure to "follow" Inspector Morimoto and Officer Suzuki on their latest case. Of course the crime and its solution are interesting but even more so, the time spent with the main characters is so enjoyable, I wouldn't mind tagging along on even their most mundane assignments.

I like the way the author weaves characters from the first novel into the second in such a way as to not distract the reader if they begin with this book, without having read the first. The reader may then go back and read the first novel at a later time. I also like the way the author uses the setting of Okayama as a character. The city is as much a character as Morimoto or Suzuki, in my mind. And I especially love the trains!

I am enjoying the development of Inspector Morimoto and his assistant Officer Suzuki. I look forward to reading another case in the next installment of this series.

INSPECTOR MORIMOTO and the DIAMOND PENDANTS is the second of three novels to feature the Inspector and his assistant, Officer Suzuki. First in the series is INSPECTOR MORIMOTO and the TWO UMBRELLAS (click here for review). INSPECTOR MORIMOTO and the FAMOUS POTTER is third in the series.

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